Samsung G400 Soul surely won't get users bored. It offers a great number of customization options. The three preinstalled themes are all very nice and we happened to particularly enjoy the one named Monolithic Purity. It suits the phone exterior, though not nearly as sweetly as with the other two Soul handsets. You can also create your own theme, tuning every single element to your taste.
The third available theme, called Samsung Theme, takes after the main menu of Samsung F480, a phone we reviewed in detail a couple of months ago. The thing we are missing here is the three different font sizes for the user interface. These were greatly appreciated in Samsung U600 and it's a pity they are not available here.
The phonebook of G400 Soul is typical Samsung again. Up to 1000 contacts can be stored with multiple fields. It displays the names from the SIM card, the phone memory or both at once. Searching is done by gradual typing of the desired contact's name. You can also use the Smart Dialing we mentioned earlier. Unluckily, Samsung G400 soul - much like the other Soul phones - searches only in the contact's first name.
Quite a number of different information fields are available for each contact. You can store up to 5 numbers, 2 email addresses, URLs and so on. Each contact can also be assigned a specific ringtone and picture, as well as a note. You can even set a video as "caller's image" - a feature that is now becoming pretty common.
Contacts can be organized into groups, which can then have their own ringtones and pictures. There is also a birthday field, which can be set as a calendar event with only a few clicks. This is quite a convenient solution. Contact details or your whole contacts list can be sent via Bluetooth. You can also save namecards to your memory card if you want to transfer them that way.
Call logging has also been slightly improved in comparison to the previous Samsung U-models. Both the Call key in stand-by and the call log icon from the menu give you access to the application. It has four tabs - recent contacts, dialed numbers, received and missed calls. Those tabs used to be somewhat inconveniently separate but with Samsung G400 Soul this is no longer a problem. From the Call log, users can add separate numbers to a reject list. When there is incoming call from a blocked number, it is displayed in the call log as usual without any indication of it being blocked.
Finally, there are also data and call time counters and even a call cost feature if you provide information about your subscription plan.
Samsung G400 Soul handles all common types of messages: SMS, EMS, MMS, and emails. The first three share the same editor. You can covert your SMS to EMS by simply applying formatting or to MMS by inserting an image or other multimedia content. A rich T9 dictionary is at the user's disposal too. In case message sending fails, the message is automatically saved to the outbox, so you can try resending it.
There is room for 500 SMS, 30 push messages, 200 broadcast messages and 30 configuration messages in the phone memory. As far as emails and MMS are concerned, they are not limited in number and storage depends on the available memory only.
The email client is also very good. It can manage POP or IMAP accounts; download is user-defined, opting between headers only and entire messages. Not only any files from the phone memory, but also business cards, calendar events, tasks or notes can be emailed as attachments. The client can be set up to check mail at a chosen interval (options vary from 30 minutes to 1 day).
The file browser in Samsung G400 Soul is the same as the one in Samsung U900 Soul varying only in the phone and memory card storage separated in different tabs. There are folders for different types of files - images, video, music, sounds, which allow the handset to sort the memory contents. However, even if you misplace a file, the handset will still handle it.
The file browser functionality is one of the best among non-smartphones. You can copy or move files - both one by one or in bulk, and you can create and delete new folders (save for the root ones). Files can also be sent via Bluetooth, one by one or multiple at once.
Throughout the whole file manager, you can pick files you would like to lock to prevent accidental deletion. Memory card reading is normal - we didn't find significant lags in reading a new memory card. Listing the thumbnails of pictures stored in the respective folder on the memory card is now quick enough too.
We tested two microSDHC memory cards with Samsung G400 Soul - a 4GB one and an 8GB one. Both cards were recognized by the handset and it had no problems with them except for the lengthy initial recognition time. Both memory cards were full of music files and photos.
The Samsung G400 Soul's picture gallery is an inherent part of the file manager and not a separate application. Accessing it is as simple as opening a folder that contains images. You can now copy or move images to any folder of your liking, unlike previous Samsung handses where only the Images folder was available for that purpose.
The pictures are seen as a list with small thumbnail next to each filename. Sorting can be done by date, type, name, and size. Once you open a picture to view, you can scroll sideways to see the next images without having to return to the image list. You can view a picture in portrait mode only, unless you apply the fullscreen view mode which switches the gallery to landscape. You can also zoom in on a picture to see greater detail though we must warn you that zooming in and out is quite slow and irritating.